Sequels are a risky business under the best of circumstances. Take a 2017 horror-comedy that flew under the radar before finding its audience and attempt to create a sequel that captures the same surprise and fun, and what do you get? Well, you get THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN. For better or for worse.
THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN takes place two years after the events of The Babysitter. Cole is still traumatized after surviving the attack of a satanic blood cult and the betrayal of his huge crush/babysitter. Now, Cole faces new demons in high school. He’s unlucky in love, awkward and suspected to be crazy, and still haunted by his past. Being a teen can be hell.
The film is written and directed by McG, though he does share a writing credit with Dan Lagana. KILLER QUEEN stars Judah Lewis, Jenna Ortega, Maximilian Acevedo, and Emily Alyn Lind.
I won’t keep you in suspense. THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN is kinda dumb. Horror-comedies are already a bit played out, as is. At this point, they only feel fresh and fun when everything aligns just right. The first Babysitter film got a lot right. This sequel didn’t get anything right.
Equally as tired as the horror-comedy is the current cultural obsession with 80s nostalgia. Yes, “Stranger Things” is cool. And YES, the tropes of ’80s slasher films have been perfect fodder for the horror-comedy machine. That being said, it’s not enough for a film to just hearken back to retroelements. It’s especially frustrating for the film to hinge its humor on ’80s nostalgia, but then throw in a line or a reference that instantly dates the film. I could feel THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN getting less funny and less focused with every passing line of dialogue.
The horror stereotypes are only effective if they’re actually funny. The first Babysitter film leaned so hard into those stereotypes that they became caricatures of a caricature. It was super on the nose, but that’s what made it funny. The film fails to build on this, making its annoying characters just plain insufferable. THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN just isn’t capable of recreating any of the fun.
THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN wastes a lot of time on playing the reference game. Referencing to the first film. Referencing to current social media culture. Referencing to a character being dumb and hot (we get it, they’re dumb and hot). Referencing horror tropes. You get the picture. The writing is tedious, lackluster, and adds insult to injury when you consider the extremely bloated runtime. The film feels absolutely stretched to its 1 hour and 41 minutes, time that’s not necessarily earned or is of value to the audience.
It’s a shame that so much of THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN is diminished by the film pausing to laugh at its own jokes. As a teen comedy, the film is sweet and light (if not a tad cheesy). The cast lacks chemistry and performances feel flat, but there are just enough young recognizable talents that some younger viewer will no doubt appreciate it. Sadly, it can’t be ignored that there is a huge Samara Weaving shaped void in KILLER QUEEN. She left big shoes to fill and the young cast did not rise to the challenge.
To sum up a lot of bad into a single statement: THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN is forced. The attempt at sincere messaging on shared trauma is ham-fisted and shoe-horned in. The humor is hollow and cringe-worthy. The relationships between the characters feel more like going through the motions than actually watching a story unfold. The film does not work as a horror and it certainly doesn’t work as a comedy. The sin of sins, KILLER QUEEN is the forced sequel that no one asked for.
THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN is now available exclusively on Netflix.